On this page, you will find both the short and long version videos of a basic no knead bread baking technique. See these variations of no knead recipe too.

Before we get started, I wanted to share an email I received from Leanna who says more for the benefits of the no knead method than I could ever convey. She says…

Love This Method

I’ve been baking bread for 40 years and this method has turned my bread baking upside down. I even had kneading down to an art. My dough had to feel just right. My ingredients had to be the best. Now I just throw these four items into a bowl and with no effort on my part, I end up with perfection. I take care of a lady with handicaps and bake it for her too. She has a gas oven and mine at home is electric. I have had no problems with this method. I used to have a sourdough starter but several moves ago, I discarded it. Now with your starter I am back in business. I can hardly wait for my first loaf of NK sourdough bread.

6 min. 40 sec.

12 min. long

Ingredients for basic yeasted No Knead Method:

3 cups bread flour (the above video used 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour and 2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) white bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups purified or spring water

  • Mix together the dry ingredients.
  • Mix in water until the water is incorporated.
  • Cover with plastic and let sit 12-18 hours.
  • Follow video instruction for folding.
  • Cover loosely with plastic and rest for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to well floured towel or proofing basket. Cover with towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Bake in covered La Cloche or Dutch oven preheated to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover; reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  • Let cool completely on rack.
  • Consume bread, be happy.

Note: Regarding the 15 minute rest after the long proofing period; it’s a habit of mine from working with “regular” dough where it helps to have the dough rest after folding in order to relax it so it’s easier to shape for the final rise. With the wet no knead dough recipes, I’ve been skipping it and haven’t noticed any difference in the results.

No Knead Revisited – A Three Year Check Up

The original New York Times no knead bread recipe was published in 2006, about the same time Breadtopia was born. By far the most common difficulty people write or call in about is with the dough being too wet to handle at the end of the long first proofing period and also when it’s time to place the dough into a covered vessel to bake at the end of the second rise.

When you run into this, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it other than attempt to follow through on the instructions and ultimately wrest the dough into your heated baker and into the oven. Your “mistake” may turn out better than you expected and if nothing else, you’ll learn from it. The next time around you can do one or a combination of a couple things differently.

  • Add more flour and/or use less water than you did the first time. Dough has a way of getting more slack as it sits for many hours so if you start off with the dough being a little stiffer than you think it should be, that’s fine and maybe it’ll be easier to handle later.
  • Consider reducing the long proofing time by several hours. Don’t get stuck on the idea of 18 hours. Depending on your room temperature and humidity, 18 hours may result in over proofing. When dough proofs too long, the gluten breaks down, the yeast looses some oomph and it can just get downright soupy. Most of the time, I find 12-14 hours to be about right (and sometimes even 9-10 hours during very warm weather). If you want or need to prolong the proofing time, but don’t want to risk over proofing, stick the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. That will slow things down a lot. Then resume proofing at room temp until it’s ready to bake.

The same principle holds true on the second rise. While 1-2 hours is the suggested range, I’m almost always at about 60 to 75 minutes.

Another concern we hear a lot is about the dough not rising much during that second short proofing period. I don’t see mine rise much then either and it doesn’t matter so long as you see a good rise during the first several minutes that the dough is in the oven. That’s called oven spring and it’s a very good thing. By keeping your proofing periods on the shorter side, you’re more likely to get good oven spring from the still vigorous yeast or sourdough starter.

Of course all of the above is assuming your yeast or sourdough starter is fresh and viable to start with.

In summary, most problems can be helped or solved by stiffening the dough a little and/or shortening the rising times.

If you’re new to bread baking, don’t think from reading this that it’s difficult or tricky to get great results. Most people find it a breeze and enjoy success right out of the blocks. Others may find it takes a few tries. It’s important to have fun with it and don’t worry about bombing. There’s no significant downside to bread baking but the upside can be fabulous. Enjoy!

This method of baking is quite forgiving if you alter the ingredients and proportions. One of the great things about a bread recipe that is so easy and involves just one loaf at a time is you don’t feel like you’re risking a lot if your experimenting goes awry.

Try using different flours and/or different proportions of flour and play around with the water measurement a little.

We’d would love to hear from anyone with their experiences using this technique, both successful and otherwise. Please share your experiences below.

Note: Here are some great dough handling tips from Breadtopia reader Mark Liptak. Also, check out these no knead baking techniques by Margaret Ball.

1,692 thoughts on “No Knead Bread Baking Method

  1. Sara-Anne Polit

    Please don’t give up – I cn only tell you to follow the instructions in this web site and all will be well. I am having wonderful results every time now and am even able to make the necessary alterations to make a firmer or less firm crust. Try again and you will see, it will work again for you.

  2. Elizabeth

    I have given up when I made my first loaf of NKB innocent and fledgling it was wonderful just APF,salt, water and Flichsman, second loaf great…sour dough loaf salty and raw in the middle and todays yeast loaf gummy and tasteless. I give up I am going back to store bought but it was fun.

  3. Aida

    So, i tried the basic no knead method. I used the saf instant yeast, my le cruset dutch oven (the smallest one in my set), my digital scale, the same mixture of flours (whole wheat and bread), and it turned out fantastic. Nobody could believe that I made the bread at home (the most frequent question was, how did you get that crust?). I think when I try it again (which I’m about to do right now), I need to lower the oven temp just a bit (I think I’ll try 475) to avoid what I thought was a tough bottom crust. Thanks so much for the amazing recipe and video tutorial! I’m hoping to try the sour dough in the near future!

  4. Elizabeth

    Oh gosh it was beautiful the loaf rose and the crust browned and I was elated but no April Fool when I tried to get it out of the dutch oven it stuck and broke and I discovered the middle was raw… but wait there is more I tasted a outer piece and guess what it was salty I mean really salty. DISASTER back to the drawing board but I do know that the starter works YEAH!

  5. Jacque

    I asked my rising questions over at the Fresh Loaf, and got a response that the most likely issue is the altitude. Yeast rises faster at altitude, and therefore the gluten structure doesn’t develop as well, and I was likely overproofing the dough.
    So instead of going by the clock and rising overnight, I decided to start in the morning and check on the dough every hour. Also, for the first hour, I folded the dough in the bowl every 20 minutes (total of 3 times), hoping that this would help develop a better structure without running the risk of degassing. I raise the dough in a ceramic bowl, so I can’t see what’s going on in the body of the dough. At about 9 hours, I thought I could see some bubbles just below the surface, and at 10 hours, I was sure (the dough appears to have too much surface tension to break, so the bubbles are not real easy to see.) So I scraped the dough into my clay baker, let it rest 15 minutes so I could smooth the surface a bit, and put it into a cold oven (I soak the top of my clay baker.)
    I got a noticeably taller loaf than I’ve been getting, so I’m on the right track. I am going to start using a bucket to raise the dough in, so I can better track bubble formation, and I will experiment with retarding, because while the flavor is pleasant, it is not tangy.
    Also, while the crumb I am getting is decent, it is more like banana bread than french bread, and I want to work on that as well.

  6. Elizabeth

    I didn’t get a great rise either overnight 18 hrs or on the second. It’s in the oven now so we will see :O(

  7. Elizabeth

    Making my first loaf of sourdough NKB, have made 2 loaves with yeast before I received Eric’s starter (came alive GREAT) very excited. I will post the result tomorrow.

  8. Jacque

    April and others,

    I bought some Fleischman’s Rapid Rise yeast, and did have slightly better results with it – the center of my loaf rose to just over 3″, but the ends remained just under 2″. I used a 10-hour unheated rise, and a 1.5 hour warm rise (oven light on). The crumb was somewhat more open and a bit drier than I have been getting before. The crust is near-perfect, and the flavor is wonderful.

    So it brings me back to my original question – is this amount of dough enough to make a nice, tall loaf in a 9″ loaf pan? Apparently not many folks here are using a regular loaf pan.

    Also, I am still contemplating the question of why a recipe that requires a long rise calls for rapid rising yeast. Maybe the small amount of yeast used needs this long to propagate through the dough? I think I will try asking these questions on another site or two and report back.

  9. Jamie

    I have been making variations on sourdough bread for 5 or more years but with a lot of trial and error (plenty of error). I have been really trying to make my loaves a little more presentable. Not really until your no-knead video had I figured out a method for consistent results. Thank you Eric! Because I could not find a Le Cloche right away I tried my neglected Anchor Hocking 2.5 quart lidded casserole baking dish. It worked perfectly! Just like a pyrex bread pan with a lid.
    Also I love the brotforms!


  10. April


    First, it is possible that the yeast is bad. Try a small packet of new yeast just to be sure. I bought a huge package of active dry from Costco and it works fine even though I know many prefer instant.

    Second, it’s a good idea to work out the basic technique with commercial yeast first before moving on to sourdough. There is a whole other set of variables with that move!

    Lastly, my observations of flat loaves resulting from a long second rise is using starter so timing is somewhat a factor as well.

  11. Jacque

    Gary, I am using Red Star Active Dry. Trying the SAF is on my list if I can’t solve this with timing. Or since I really prefer sourdough, and just got Eric’s dried starter in the mail, I may just go straight to the sourdough without perfecting the yeasted NKB first.

    But here’s a question – given the long rising time for this dough, even if my Red Star is a bit on the old side, wouldn’t even a relatively few live yeast cells propagate through the dough?

  12. Return and report: My last loaf’s texture and rise were wonderful. However, it was bit saltier than I like so next loaf I will use less kefir. Will return and report after next baking.
    p.s. The bread is getting eaten with gusto.

  13. Gary

    Hey Jacque,

    I think I had your problem for one loaf of NKBread. And my problem was I changed yeast as I had a different brand in the house. I use SAF Gourmet Perfect Rise Yeast for every loaf but the bad one and have no problems. I have even let the second rise go longer because I was out of the house and nothing bad happened. When I used a different brand of yeast, I got no second rise and threw it dough away.

    Are you sure you are using FAST RISING yeast.

  14. Jacque

    Hi April, thanks for the tips. I’m going to try a 10-hour rise tonight, and a shorter second rise, will let you know what happens!

  15. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the presence of any residual bleach – the slightest hint – is enough to kill all of your yeast cold.

  16. Joy

    Hi, I’m just wondering if there’s a way to bake this bread in a regular loaf pan? Would you just cover with tinfoil for the first half hour? My dutch oven is rather small and is going to make the loaf a weird shape.

  17. April

    Hi Jacque

    I don’t think it really matters how long the first rise is in relation to the final rise. Once the dough is degassed by folding and shaping, the time clock starts over. A too long rise after being degassed will make for a flatter loaf from the oven because the yeast will have expended its energy before hitting the oven and will not have enough oomph left to rise any more in the oven. Try turning your oven on to preheat right after folding the dough for the final rise and pop it in the oven exactly one hour later and see what happens.

    I have seen some other posts regarding effects of elevation on the bread, you might want to search the site for info.

    As for temperature, its really cold here too which is why I often put the dough in the oven at 100 or leave the oven light on. If left too long in that environment the dough will get way too slack and soupy. 12 hours on my counter is not long enough in the cool winter to proof adequately so I try to boost the dough the morning by warming it and sometimes over do it.

  18. Jacque

    Also, I don’t *think* my dough is too wet – it is soft and sticky, but does cohere into a blob, and I can feel it “fight” me when I fold it (in the bowl) after the first rise.

    It’s hard for me to think I am keeping it to too warm, we live at nearly 6000 feet, have had snow on the ground regularly, and keep the thermostat set at 60.

  19. Jacque

    Thanks April, I have been logging my times, but I’ve been focused on the first, long rise. My last baking, the first rise was 12 hours, and I think that may still be too long – it didn’t differ much from the 18-hour trial, which was definitely too long, I could see that the dough collapsed.

    When I check on the dough during the second rise, I see little or no evidence of actual rising. So next time I bake, I’m going with a 10-hour first rise. I should see additional rising during the second period, right?

  20. April


    Two factors seem to influence how much rise I get from my NKB. If the dough is way too wet or way too warm it will literally pour into the pan from the proofing basking and also stick to the basket or towel, letting me know that it will be a somewhat flat loaf. Second, if the dough is left too long in the second rise, there will not be enough oven spring to give good height to the loaf. Typically, I put the dough in the proofing basket and set the timer for 25 or 30 minutes. When the timer is up I turn on the oven to preheat 465. When the oven beeps to temperature the dough goes in. Total time does not exceed one hour fifteen minutes. Often it is about an hour, depending on the oven and ambient temperatures. I get about a 4 inch height and great crusty natural splits on top. A longer rise does not produce the splits on top and comes out flatter. You should experiment and log the times to track what is working best for you. It really does matter. Hope this helps.

  21. Here’s another loaf of NKB. In this version I substitute kefir for the water in the recipe, 2 c. white flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, and the same yeast and salt as the basic recipe. I kept the 2d rise to less than hour. My Emile Henry dutch oven was heated to 500º and then immediately reduced the heat to 425º baking covered for 35 minutes and uncovered for 12 minutes.

  22. Ian M


    regarding those health claims: The gluten IS developed in no knead bread, (otherwise, you would not get that nice open crumb and good chewy texture). The traditional method of developing the glutens, (which is allowing the individual gluten molecules to find one-another and bind together), is through kneading.

    The cool thing about no-knead is that the dough is so moist, (over 40% moisture, very high), that the gluten molecules can swim around and find one another, without you putting any energy in. The glutens ARE forming, you just don’t have to work for it

  23. Jacque

    I’ve been making the NKB following Eric’s recipe. I am getting wonderful crust and great flavor, but it doesn’t seem to me that it is rising as high as it should – but maybe I have unrealistic expectations.

    Eric’s recipe makes about 1 1/2 lbs of dough, and the finished loaf weighs about 1 lb. I am baking it in a clay roaster, which is the size of a standard 9″ loaf pan. My bread winds up a little over 2″ tall. Are any of the rest of you you baking in a standard loaf pan, and how much rise are you getting?

  24. Sara-Anne

    Rob430 – what a beautiful loaf. I have not yet made sourdough fruit bread. Not sure how the tastes will meld. Congrats.

  25. Marsha

    I have been experimenting with a handful of the different no knead recipes out there for a while now and love them. I have played around with the “original” Lahey recipe by adding flax/nuts/seeds and steel cut oats like on this website and it works great. This past week, I tried the method described in the book Artisan Bread in 5 minutes per day and really liked the idea of having dough that just sits around in the refrigerator, essentially waiting for use any day of the week (instead of the slight degree of planning that some of the other recipes require). Only catch was that I didn’t find it to be quite as tasty and found the texture slightly less desirable.

    My question is: does anyone have any success creating a hybrid of these methods? I ideally would like to be able to create dough that just sits in my refrigerator for up to a couple of days but with the same success taste-wise and texture-wise as the NKB recipes on this website….

    Also, while I really like the texture and taste using my Lodge 5qt cast iron pot, I also have a baking stone and would like to be able to make smaller quantities and different shapes (like the Artisan Bread in 5 min per day book) that match the NKB recipes on this website for taste and texture…

    I appreciate any suggestions!

  26. I’ve been making NKB for a while now. I had a co-worker ask me this morning when I was going to bring some more in, because “it is so warm and comforting in the morning.” :)

    I have always been afraid to cook it as long as suggested, because I was afraid it would burn. Well, I finally let it cook all the way and it was so much more satisfactory. It was appropriately “breadish” instead of being too moist. It looked like it was ruined when I took it out, but, in reality, the crust just good a darn good crust, while inside it was perfect. I used milk instead of water and it turned out good, but I think the water works just as well, if not better, because it is a little lighter.

  27. Francie

    I love the basic No-Knead Bread. I’m new to it but have now made it half a dozen times. My problem is that unless I add an additional half cup of flour, I get a blobby mess after the second rising. If I use a cotton towel (bought an entire 5-pack of flour sack towels to be my “special” bread towels), the dough sticks to the towel and oozes into the heated pot, stretching out and then landing in an unattractive heap which doesn’t really straighten out when baking. I felt I used plenty of flour on the towel, even sifting it on to evenly distribute it. The end result is delicious but not that pretty.

    I tried using parchment paper but found the blob of dough fills out the small creases in the paper and looks a little like an amoeba.

    Obsessive that I am, I will make this recipe over and over until I get all the variables just right. It’s a bit frustrating. Can you help?

  28. Rob

    Below is a post on here and I have Nancy’s Book. I don’t understand why the dough should be refrigerated 3-10 hrs then proofed on the counter for 12 – 18 hrs. I just do it the original method on the counter and refrigerate any dough I’m not using after it proofs. Any comments about this?

    Briefly mix the dry ingredients.
    Add ICE-cold water (50F) and mix like any other no knead bread.
    Refrigerate from 3 to 10 hours.*
    Place it on the counter for 10 to 18 hours.* At the halfway mark, stirring the dough vigorously is optional.
    The recipe is in Nancy Baggett’s book “Needlessly Simple,” page 31, “Crusty White Peasant Style Pot Bread,” using 4 cups of all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and ice water.

  29. rob430

    Hi, I just want to share my recent loaf I baked yesterday, a walnut/blue cheese loaf. I used the basic no knead recipe adding only 1 tbsp olive oil to the dough. This loaf came out larger than any previopus loaves, maybe because the final proof was done on parchment paper so I just had to lift it and place it in the pot. I onlt proofed it 1 1/2 hrs too.


  30. Al

    Darn you Breadtopia. Since I started making KNB and following your recipes I am totally addicted to the stuff and have gained five pounds. Thanks a lot.

  31. Wil

    Hi Vajra,

    Thanks for the compliment. Wow, you must have gone back deep into the thread to find that. I still use 1/2 cup of Kefir in my bread making. It sounds like you are getting good results using just Kefir as your starter. Maybe you can catch us up on the proofing times and characteristics of your bread using just Kefir.


  32. Wil, Your sourdough cranberry bread is gorgeous! I wish I’d had luck with sourdough starter, but after several failed attempts, I just use kefir as we discussed earlier. As I type this, I have another loaf of nk whole wheat bread in the oven.

    I don’t remember if I touted this before, but the Emile Henry Flame Top Dutch Oven is da bomb. Entirely made of clay, it goes into a 500℉ without a care, and it is much lighter than any cast iron pot. I also purchased a stainless steel handle for my Le Creuset pots, just “in case.” ;) But despite assurances from Le Creuset I wouldn’t heat them at 500℉.

  33. Toad

    Thanks to those who’ve tried to discover why the French baker made the claims she did re bad health consequences of no-knead bread consumption. FYI, it’s ‘la vache’ (feminine noun) so cannot be ‘du vache’ (‘du’ being the combination of ‘de’ + ‘le’ with ‘le’ being the definite article of a masculine noun). Also, when the French say their equivalent of “It’s cow s…” they omit the cow altogether and simply say “C’est de la m…”.

  34. April


    I never laughed so hard in all my life!

    • Click here to translate C’est merde du vache.

      Thanks Mark!

  35. Mark

    Re: health benefits of kneading: C’est merde du vache!

  36. April

    Wow…. I imagine that the physical process of kneading the dough has health benefits to the person doing the kneading.

    For what it is worth, I have read on this site of health benefits of sourdough vs commercial yeast breads regarding the way the body absorbs carbs and sugars benefiting diabetics. I have no doubt there is some theory regarding the knead/no-knead claim, although the baker might just be deterring customers from home baking for obvious reasons.

    A scientific explanation of molecules binding at an atomic level in hand kneaded bread would be interesting reading but isn’t going to stop me from making NKB.

  37. Marianne

    Hi Toad,
    I am not expert on that, but if you search through this site for the link to the Julia Child episode where she has a guest do a kneading demonstration, you will quickly understand how seariously the French take their bread making. The woman on the episode says she has to work/knead her dough 800 times (yes 800). She also mentions something about French law stating that you have to let the freshly baked bread sit a certain length of time before cutting into it. So I am not surprised that you got that reaction.
    I have not heard anything negative about the no-knead method. I will watch for other member comments. Could be just another “French Law”.

  38. Toad

    I DO NOT want to open a can of worms but have a question about kneading vs. no-kneading re health. This morning I bought artisan bread from an organic, well-known and highly respected bakery here in France. I mentioned to the baker that the loaves were a friend’s birthday present, and that I would have made her bread myself but hadn’t planned enough in advance and ran out of time. She was surprised I make bread myself and we got talking. I mentioned experimenting with the no-knead method and she launched into a scientific explanation of the reasons why one must ABSOLUTELY knead a min. of 20 to 30 minutes to develop the gluten (in the only safe health-wise way it can be done), otherwise there are acids? enzymes? that remain in the no-knead bread that when consumed prevent our instestines from functioning correctly and then toxins enter our blood stream, etc. etc. (This was all in French and other customers began arriving, so we got interrupted and I was surprised anyway so can’t quote her and left a little confused and now would like confirmation or rebuttals regarding her claims–and internet searches have got me no where so far…) Thanks in advance for any informed responses!

  39. Sara-Anne

    Thank you both for your comments. I am using instant dried yeast and tend to think it may be the temperature of the oven (which I check). As it is sporadic it is hard to know what the cause is.

  40. Wil

    Sara Anne,

    Is your oven temp as hot as you may think it is? Maybe check it. Aslo, what kind of yeast are you using, sourdough, instant or yeast cake? Yeast cake, I understand has the potential for the problem your having.


  41. rob430

    Sara-Anne, I’m not sure about the problem you have but generally, I’m not satisfied with the crumb when I use anything other than white flour. I only use maybe 1/2 a cup of any whole grain/wheat and the crumb is so dense. I know whole grains do not have the gluten that white flours have but for the amount I use, IMO, it should not be that much of a change. I might just stick with white flour. Any comments?

  42. Sara-Anne Polit

    May I change the thread for a moment. Occasionally, when baking a whole wheat loaf with a denser crumb I find a wet spot in the centre of the loaf.
    The rest of the loaf is perfectly baked – it could not really bake longer. Replacing it in the oven does nothing to help. Is this a proofing problem?

  43. Gary

    NKB using the one bowl method. No messy counter or extra flour used.

    Mix in the SS bowl. I use cold filtered water from our refrigerator.
    Let it rise 18 hours.
    Turn over in the SS bowl with spatula 10 or 12 times.
    Let it rise the second time in the SS bowl in warm oven.
    Take out of oven and turn oven to 450. My oven runs hot.
    Place Pyrex bowl (with a little Pam) and cover in oven for 1/2 hour.
    Dump dough from SS bowl into Pyrex bowl.
    Cook for 1/2 hour covered. 5 minutes uncovered.
    Check to see if temp is 210 Degrees F.
    Dump out on cooling rack.


  44. Gary

    To Joe,
    i have thought of using the same bowl for the second rise. what always stopped me was i thought the dough would stick to the bowl. did you have that problem?


    The dough does stick to the bowl, but I just scrape most of it into the bowl with my spatula. This is the messiest step left in the procedure as I am doing this wearing oven mitts. But is still is better than the other method.


  45. rob430

    Hi All,

    Marsha, I actually do one of 2 things with dough/bread and both work. I learned that you can refrigerate the dough so I make a double batch, bake a loaf of bread and put the other half in the fridge to use within a few days. That would be doubling the recipe with 6 cups of flour. The other is I bake a large loaf, 4 cups of flour, and bake a loaf. The same day I freeze half the loaf for another time. I make a variety of breads as the boule, ciabatta, baguette, sandwich bread so I have to do this. I purchased a small freezer to accommodate this and my trips to Costco……lol.

  46. Greg Schultz

    Marsha (and others)
    You may want to look into Peter Reinhart’s new book “Artisan Breads Every Day”. It deals primarily with strategies for delaying the rise through refrigeration and making batches containing several days-worth of dough so you can just pull a chunk out and bake it with no further ado. Traditional recipes, just a different way of managing them.

  47. Marsha

    Hi, I love making the no-knead steel cut oats recipe from this website. I make it often using a 5 qt lodge cast iron pot, works fantastic every time. My only issue with this is that it makes about twice as much bread as me and my husband can consume before it gets too hard & dry. I would like to try to make the recipe, and split it into half, so that I can cook it in 2 seperate loaves. Any ideas of what to use as a pot, how to adjust cooking time, and also whether I can just punch down the second half in my refridgerator and use it a day or two later? Any advice or thoughts on this would be appreciated!

  48. Additionally, look to good oven spring to blast your bread into full bloom, producing the wide open cracks you want. Oven spring is what it sounds like – the doughs rapid rise during the first few minutes after it hits the hot baking surface and before the yeast dies and the bread takes its final shape.

    Assuming your yeast (or starter) is viable and robust, you’ll get good oven spring if you bake your bread before it’s reached its full rise outside the oven. In other words, don’t necessarily wait for your dough to double before baking. (Quite often your dough won’t double anyway no matter how much time you give it). “Err” on baking it on the early side while the dough is still on the rise and not peaked out. Let the oven do the last part of the lifting. Like everything, getting the timing right gets easier with practice.

    Everyone’s experience seems to differ on this, but I typically go about an hour to an hour and a 15 minutes (if the room is very cool) max on the final rise before baking. And I rarely go much more than 12-14 hours on the first rise. I want my yeast to have plenty of oomph left for the oven spring. It’s all about oomph.

  49. Many people score their bread, however I get a nicely cracked top without scoring. I’m wondering if it is because of the folds I do before the second rise, creating taut strands of gluten. I fold it as recommended by Fahey. You stretch the dough, then fold one third over the center, then the far side over the center, then, stretch the other way and fold in half.

  50. George Nolta

    I’m no expert, but I think the answer to getting a cracked top is to score the top of the loaf with a razor blade right before you bake it. Take that as tentative advice until you hear something authoritative from a real baker.

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